Some people revel in newfound freedom that comes with retirement. Others experience a sense of loss associated with ending a career that may have lasted their entire working lives.
In either case, the average person, retiring at age 55 or 60, can look forward to another 20 or 30 years in retirement. This is a rich opportunity to find new challenges and forge a new identity.
First, you'll want to make sure the bills are paid and that you have enough money left over to do those things you didn't have time for during your working years.
Taking advantage of discounts that are available to retirees makes your dollar go further. When you turn age 50, you can join AARP, a non-profit nationwide organization. For $12.50 a year in fees, AARP offers many discounts for the over-50 set.
Retirement offers several opportunities to live an active life, including the pursuit of:
Education and travel. This is a good time to take that Italian class at the local community college, visit the pyramids of Egypt or take that river-rafting trip. You can often find discount rates for tuition and travel packages if you're over age 55. You can also take advantage of off-peak rates and seasons.
Community and volunteer work. Your town is likely to have several non-profit organizations looking for part- or full-time volunteers. These organizations sometimes have to sacrifice their community services if unable to find the skills and experience that new retirees often have. Community and volunteer work is a chance to put your skills and experience to work in exchange for the chance to shape an organization.
Paid work. A service- and information-based economy offers retirees a broader range of work opportunities today than ever before. Many companies are willing to offer arrangements that include working from home, flexible hours and part-time work.
Family life. Retirees have more free time to spend with a grandchild than the child's parents often have. The bonds that develop between grandparent and grandchild benefit the mental, spiritual and emotional health of both sides of the relationship.